Hymn on St. Patrick
Author: Saint Secundinus
Genre: Hymn, 5th Century
Reading Time for Text: Approx. 5 minutes
This 5th century hymn, Audite Omnes (“Hear Ye All”), was composed by St. Secundinus, a bishop who joined Patrick in Ireland to assist him with his work. According to Patrick scholar Dr. Ludwig Bieler, it was probably composed after Patrick’s “Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus” in order to defend Patrick against his critics (The Works of St. Patrick, pp. 57-58). Many leaders in Briton were angered that Patrick openly expressed contempt toward Coroticus, a Roman military leader.
The hymn was written as an abecedarian hymn, meaning that each stanza begins with a consecutive letter of the alphabet. It was translated from Latin by Bieler (1953).
Hear ye all, lovers of God, the holy merits
Of the man blessed in Christ, Patrick the bishop,
How for his good ways he is likened to the angels,
And because of his perfect life is deemed equal to the apostles.
Christ’s holy precepts he keeps in all things,
His works shine bright among men,
And they follow his holy and wondrous example,
And thus praise God the Father in heaven.
Constant in the fear of God and steadfast in his faith,
On him the Church is built as on Peter;
And his apostleship has he received from God –
The gates of Hell will not prevail against him.
The Lord has chosen him to teach the barbarian tribes,
To fish with the nets of his teaching,
And to draw from the world unto grace the believers,
Men who would follow the Lord to His heavenly seat.
He sells the choice talents of Christ’s Gospel
And collects them among the Irish heathens with usury;
As a reward for the great labour of his journey,
His will be the joy of heaven’s kingdom in union with Christ.
God’s faithful servant and His distinguished ambassador,
He gives the good an apostolic example and model,
Preaching as he does to God’s people in words as well as in deeds,
So that him whom he converts not with words he inspires with good conduct.
Glory has he with Christ, honour in the world,
He who is venerated by all as an angel of God.
God has sent him, as He sent Paul, an apostle to the gentiles,
To offer men guidance to the kingdom of God.
Humble is he of mind and body because of his fear of God;
The Lord has pleasure in him because of his good deeds;
In his holy body he bears the marks of Christ;
In His Cross alone, his sole comfort, he glories.
Untiringly he feeds the faithful from the heavenly banquet,
Lest those who are with Christ faint on the way;
Like bread he gives to them the words of the Gospel,
Which are multiplied like manna in his hands.
He preserves his body chaste for love of the Lord;
This body he has made a temple for the Holy Spirit,
And he keeps it such by purity in all his actions;
He offers it as a living sacrifice, acceptable to the Lord.
The great Gospel light of the world is he,
Lifted up on a candlestick, shining over all the earth –
The fortified city of the King, seated on a mountain,
Wherein there is great abundance of the Lord.
Greatest indeed will be called in the kingdom of heaven
The man who fulfils with good deeds the holy words he teaches,
Who by his good example is a leader and model to the faithful,
Who in sincerity of heart has confidence in God.
Boldly he proclaims the name of the Lord to the heathens,
And gives them eternal grace in the bath of salvation.
He prays to God daily for their sins,
For them he offers sacrifices, worthy in the eyes of God!
For the sake of God’s law he despises all worldly glory;
Compared to His table he considers all else as trifling;
He is not moved by the violence of this world,
But, suffering for Christ, he rejoices in adversity !
A good and faithful shepherd of the flock won for the Gospel,
God has chosen him to watch over God’s people
And to feed with divine teaching His folk,
For whom, following Christ’s example, he gives his life.
For his merits the Saviour has raised him to the dignity of a bishop,
That he may spur the clergy in their heavenly service,
Providing them with heavenly rations, besides vestments –
The rations of divine and sacred words.
He is the King’s herald, inviting the faithful to the wedding.
He is richly clad in a wedding garment,
He drinks heavenly wine from heavenly cups
And gives God’s people the spiritual cup to drink.
He finds a holy treasure in the Sacred Volume
And perceives the Saviour’s divinity in His flesh.
It is a treasure he purchases with holy and perfect works.
ISRAEL his soul is called -” seeing God.”
A faithful witness of the Lord to the Catholic Law,
His speech is spiced with divine words,
That the human flesh may not decay, eaten by worms,
But be salted with heavenly savour for sacrifice.
A true and renowned tiller of the Gospel field,
His seeds are Christ’s Gospels.
These he sows from his God-inspired mouth into the ears of the wise,
And cultivates their hearts and minds with the Holy Spirit.
Christ chose him to be His vicar on earth.
He frees captives from a twofold servitude:
The great numbers whom he liberates from bondage to men,
These countless ones he frees from the yoke of the devil.
Hymns, and the Apocalypse, and the Psalms of God he sings,
And explains them for the edification of God’s people.
What he tells them he believes in the Trinity of the holy Name,
And teaches that there is only one substance in Three Persons.
Girt with the Lord’s girdle day and night,
He prays unceasingly to God the Lord.
He will receive the reward for his immense labour –
With the Apostles will he reign, holy, over Israel.
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